SOS Children's Village Makalle is located on the road leading from the salt desert to Makalle, the capital of the province of Tigrai.
The climate of Tigrai, the oldest populated province of Ethiopia, is pleasant but very dry, and therefore the dams built to ensure the village's water supply are also of great importance to the surrounding area.
SOS Children's Village Makalle comprises 20 family houses, providing accommodation for up to 200 children and their SOS mothers, a village director's house, an administrative unit, a guest house and an SOS aunts' house (SOS mothers in training, who assist present SOS mothers in everyday jobs, and substitute them in case of illness or holidays) The dams enable small scale agriculture including the keeping of cattle and the cultivation of fodder and vegetables on a subsistence and small commercial basis.
Since 1976, the SOS Children's Village incorporates an SOS Kindergarten consisting of four classrooms, adjoining rooms, and a playground for up to 190 SOS and local children.
The older SOS youth (from about 16 years of age onwards) are housed in the two SOS Youth Facilities for the period of their secondary/vocational education, giving them more responsibility as they are only supervised by one youth leader. SOS mothers, village directors and psychologists carefully prepare the youngsters for this significant step towards independence, to which roughly four years are assigned, extendable for prolonged education or job search.
Great emphasis is also placed on education, demonstrated by the launching of the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary and Secondary School Makalle in 1998 which is currently attended by some 680 SOS and local children. The school includes 24 classrooms, a library, three science labs, a computer lab, a multi-purpose hall, a sports ground and administrative rooms.
As a component of the neighbourhood-aid programme, children from very poor backgrounds receive scholarships. Some poor children attending public schools receive financial and other material aid.
SOS Vocational Training Centre Makalle opened in 2001and provides training for those interested in nursing. It is currently attended by 30 students and consists of two classrooms, two demonstrative rooms, a library, student accommodation, a canteen, and administrative rooms.
The SOS Medical Centre was launched in October 2001, and provides medical aid to the SOS Children's Village community, the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School and the SOS Vocational Training Centre. It is also publicly available, and is therefore also very valuable to the local community. It consists of two treatment rooms, a variety of adjoining rooms, and a dispensary.